Society for Philosophy and Culture seminar, held at McMaster University, Canada, in October 2012, as part of our series "Crossing Borders". Alison Mountz speaks on "Haunting Sovereignties: the Border as Enforcement Archipelago" with responses by Jane Helleiner and Peter Nyers.
In order to map what many scholars have called the ‘securitisation of migration,’ it is essential to begin with the border. Once conceived of as a line drawn by cartographers, the border has undergone dramatic spatial and conceptual transformations. It is transnational, fragmented, biometric, intimate, privatised, contracted out, policed onshore and offshore, haunting. Local enforcement officials internal to sovereign territory take up the work of border enforcement and federal authorities travel abroad to police borders in foreign territory. These vertiginous spatial logics repeat themselves time and again.
This talk maps these largely hidden geographies to show how sovereign powers haunt migrants through the displacement and relocation of the border. States increasingly invest in intimacies of daily life, exercising biopolitical power through the simultaneous integration of information about the body and isolation of those very bodies through remote practices of interception and detention. The border is reconstituted through this fragmentation.
Sovereign power at once fails and is reconfigured through the performative work of enforcement that plays on what is hypervisible and what is left unseen. Through the blurring of on and offshore, inside and out, intimate knowledge and publicly securitised agendas, haunting sovereignties extend outward like tentacles, moving the border to intercepted bodies, carrying out detention in ambiguous places between states through ‘third parties.’ This haunting continues even as those forces made invisible continually reappear, their absence ever-present.
Facebook Group: Society for Philosophy & Culture